In the words of a Palestinian peace activist - part 3On 0ctober 22nd, 2005
my brother Ali was shot in his knee for no reasons by an Israeli settler in the middle of the day on the Jerusalem – Hebron highway.
My mother took Ali to get surgery and medical treatments in Jordan and from there to Saudi Arabia's king Fahd Hospital,
On November 16th, 2000 an Israeli soldier shot my 31 years old brother, Joeseph. A 25 years Israeli soldier, at a check point in my home town of Beit Ommar, shot Joeseph in the head at point blank range, killing him for no reason. I ask again, WHY??????
I found myself at the same crossroad countless Palestinians before me have faced: whether to take revenge against my brother killer and continue the endless cycle of violence, or to choose a different path.
Despite calls from other Palestinians to revenge my brother's death, I have chosen to walk the hard path, the path of peace. I believe the killings will not stop; only when Israelis and Palestinians recognize one another’s rights to co-exist in peace and justice as neighbors not enemies - something I continue to believe is possible.
Since the death of my brother I have worked vigorously to achieve peace, speaking nationally and internationally, side by side with my Israeli Jewish brothers and sisters, and Americans.
I served as the co-chair of the Palestinian outreach committee of the Bereaved Parents Circle. The bereaved parents circle is a group of Israelis and Palestinians (Jews, Muslims, Christians) who have lost a family member to political violence, but still seek reconciliation, tolerance and peace instead of revenge. The BPC was founded in 1994 by Yitzhak Frankenthal, an Israeli Orthodox Jew, after his son Arik at the age of 19, was kidnapped and killed in Ramallah – West Bank - by the hand of Hamas members, a Palestinian fundamentalist movement.
Before and after I joined the bereaved families, I spoke publicly and loudly alongside Israeli Jews, Americans and others about the need for Palestinians to seek and achieve peace with Israelis and for Palestinian to reconcile with the State of Israel and to try and learn from our pain and grief how to prevent that from happening to others. I believe in ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine while ensuring the security of the State of Israel and its inhabitants.
I openly recruited bereaved families in Palestine and have also given lectures in Israel. I have also given lectures about the conflict and the need for peace to many types of groups in America, Italy, Japan and Switzerland. I also lectured at interfaith dialogues, mainly during my visits to the Vatican during which I met Pope-John Paul twice before he died.
Our work and efforts with the parents circle were covered by local and international media including the Arab network Al-Jazeera which is broadcast from Qatar at the Arabian Gulf – it's similar to the CNN in America.
My actions and the coverage we received have made me very visible as a peacemaker, but my visibility was a double - edged sword, the same visibility that helped to spread my message has also put my life in danger. Because of the fact that I spoke boldly and openly alongside Israelis Jews, Americans and others about the need for the Palestinian to stop the violence and reach peace with Israelis, I was detained against my will on several occasions by government Authorities and was repeatedly threatened with kidnapping and death by government Authorities and by people claiming to represent the government or extremist Muslim religious groups such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.
To be continued…